A chance to take control of Region IX-North fell through the Lancers' fingertips Saturday as the Eastern Wyoming volleyball team fell to 3-1 in region play.
The Lancers swept Central Wyoming 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 on Friday night to set up a showdown of the last two unbeaten teams in the state of Wyoming.
EWC was poised to take a seat alone at the top but a 2-0 lead turned into a five-set loss to the Western Wyoming Mustangs on Oct. 5, momentarily dropping the Lancers to second place.
"Everything was going our way, until it wasn't," EWC head coach Dante Geoffrey said. "We rolled through the first two sets and you almost got the sense that it was too easy, that things were about to get a lot harder, and they did."
Eastern cruised to a 25-21 and then a 25-17 win. The offense was clicking and the Lancers had out-killed the Mustangs 33-20 at that point. Over the third and fourth sets, the Mustangs earned more kills and committed less errors to even the match with 25-16, 25-19 wins.
In the fifth and deciding set, the Lancers committed six hitting errors and hit just .091, sinking their chances in the 15-12 loss.
"It's frustrating when nearly half of their points come from your errors," Geoffrey said. "And for it to still be just a three-point deficit, you know that match was within reach."
The Lancers play the Mustangs again on Saturday, Oct. 19, in Rock Springs.
Freshman outside hitter Vanja Pržulj hit a game-high 21 kills for a .250 hitting percentage.
Sophomore outside Charlène Hosly had 12 kills and a .370 hitting percentage. Hosly earned a double-double with a team-best 20 digs.
Setters Lexi Trowbridge (25 assists, six digs) and Devyn Volz (23 assists, 11 digs) did their part in leading the EWC attack, which hit .232 overall despite the inefficient final set.
Freshman J'Adore Hayes picked up 16 digs and five assists.
"We have the pieces, no doubt. Every player at every position is capable of pushing us to victory," Geoffrey said. "It's about bringing a more aggressive, winning mindset to the court and playing together as a team."
EWC's outside hitters led the win against Central Wyoming by scoring 19 of the team's 32 kills. Hosly scored 10 kills to go with nine digs, and Pržulj has nine kills, five digs and 1.5 blocks.
Volz had a team-high 17 assists and was third with seven digs.
Hayes led the team with 13 digs.